Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When bad things happen to good roses ...

It's only fair, considering the fuss last year, to point out that the Chariton Cemetery is in beautiful condition this year as Memorial Day approaches --- immaculately maintained.

But I do have a bone to pick, although it has nothing to do with the current maintenance staff --- it goes back a few years (these photos were for the most part taken during 2012).

At mid-May that year, this glorious white rose was rambling all over the tombstone erected to mark the graves of James and Delila Robbins after their deaths during 1922, surrounded by pillows of pink peonies, also in full bloom.

Then someone decided the rose was overgrown --- and chopped it off at ground level rather than pruning it selectively. Bad things happen sometimes to good roses, too.

The rose has struggled to recover and, as you can see from this photo taken last evening, still is with us, but sadly it will be another year without roses for the Robbins.

James and Delila, if their joint obituary is to believed, formed a pretty harmonious composition themselves.

Farmers native to Indiana, they moved to the Chariton vicinity during 1864 and after many years on the farm here and in Clarke County retired and moved into Chariton during 1910. Delila wasn't well during her final years and James cared for her. Then both became critically ill.

James died at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, 1922, and Della followed a few hours later, at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, May 1. He, a couple of months older, was 82; she was 81. They had been married for 61 years. The Robbins were buried on this lot with a lovely view out over the Chariton River valley after funeral services at the Methodist Church the following Wednesday.

Here, in part, is how they were eulogized in a joint obituary published in the Herald-Patriot on Thursday: "The two lives of Mr. and Mrs. Robbins were lived out in peculiarly beautiful harmony. They began life within about three months of each other, and went out into the Afterlife almost hand in hand. Their relations had always been thus. No home could have been more truly knit together than theirs. During the long years of Mrs. Robbins' sickness her husband was her constant attendant and companion. They were an exemplary family in all their relations in the community. A multitude of former neighbors and friends from all the places where they lived testify to the sterling worth and warm goodness of these departed friends."

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